Union Membership, Coverage, Density, and Employment
Among Public Sector Workers, 1973-2017
Year Obs Employment Members Covered %Mem %Cov
1973 8,850 13,632.8 3,134.5 -- 23.0 --
1974 8,823 14,153.6 3,472.7 -- 24.5 --
1975 8,879 14,497.7 3,601.5 -- 24.8 --
1976 8,979 14,928.9 3,789.5 -- 25.4 --
1977 11,139 15,247.8 4,994.6 6,111.1 32.8 40.1
1978 10,852 15,401.3 5,123.7 6,234.4 33.3 40.5
1979 11,062 15,843.4 5,868.2 7,010.6 37.0 44.2
1980 13,348 16,038.8 5,763.6 6,967.7 35.9 43.4
1981 2,796 15,082.7 5,179.0 6,267.8 34.3 41.6
1982 -- -- -- -- -- --
1983 32,621 15,633.8 5,737.2 7,112.2 36.7 45.5
1984 32,144 15,832.8 5,655.7 6,945.9 35.7 43.9
1985 32,047 16,071.4 5,743.1 6,920.6 35.7 43.1
1986 31,469 16,390.5 5,890.5 7,073.9 35.9 43.2
1987 31,736 16,864.3 6,055.7 7,165.7 35.9 42.5
1988 30,709 17,190.6 6,299.2 7,485.1 36.6 43.5
1989 31,039 17,490.8 6,424.2 7,614.4 36.7 43.5
1990 32,833 17,782.3 6,485.0 7,691.4 36.5 43.3
1991 32,448 17,993.5 6,632.0 7,796.0 36.9 43.3
1992 31,935 18,162.9 6,653.1 7,840.6 36.6 43.2
1993 31,736 18,629.5 7,017.8 8,162.4 37.7 43.8
1994 30,153 18,339.2 7,091.0 8,191.8 38.7 44.7
1995 29,584 18,357.6 6,927.4 7,986.6 37.7 43.5
1996 25,959 18,209.9 6,854.4 7,829.7 37.6 43.0
1997 25,920 18,147.2 6,746.7 7,668.0 37.2 42.3
1998 25,861 18,401.0 6,905.3 7,814.7 37.5 42.5
1999 26,561 18,938.1 7,058.1 7,966.3 37.3 42.1
2000 26,572 18,975.7 7,110.5 7,975.6 37.5 42.0
2001 28,492 19,130.3 7,147.5 7,975.4 37.4 41.7
2002 31,266 19,397.9 7,327.2 8,131.9 37.8 41.9
2003 30,780 19,710.2 7,324.1 8,184.7 37.2 41.5
2004 30,362 19,970.3 7,267.1 8,131.1 36.4 40.7
2005 30,550 20,380.9 7,430.4 8,261.8 36.5 40.5
2006 30,059 20,391.6 7,377.8 8,172.4 36.2 40.1
2007 30,409 21,053.2 7,556.7 8,373.3 35.9 39.8
2008 30,391 21,304.6 7,832.3 8,676.2 36.8 40.7
2009 30,314 21,132.6 7,896.5 8,677.5 37.4 41.1
2010 29,848 21,032.7 7,623.1 8,406.0 36.2 40.0
2011 28,849 20,431.7 7,550.2 8,309.1 37.0 40.7
2012 28,233 20,373.0 7,319.5 8,061.6 35.9 39.6
2013 27,890 20,412.3 7,203.0 7,894.1 35.3 38.7
2014 27,588 20,019.3 7,214.0 7,923.1 35.7 39.2
2015 27,456 20,577.3 7,233.8 8,022.7 35.2 39.0
2016 27,283 20,669.7 7,113.5 7,826.5 34.4 37.9
2017 26,877 20,951.5 7,211.3 7,945.2 34.4 37.9
             
Data sources: For the years 1973-81 the May Current Population (CPS). For the years
1983-2017 the CPS Outgoing Rotation Group (ORG) Earnings Files. There were no
union questions in the 1982 CPS. Sample includes wage and salary workers, ages
16 and over. Variable definitions are: Obs=CPS sample size; Employment=wage and
salary employment in thousands, Members=employed workers who are union members
in thousands, Covered=workers covered by a collective bargaining agreement in
thousands, %Mem=percent of employed workers who are union members, and
%Cov=percent of employed workers who are covered by a collective bargaining
agreement. The definition of union membership was expanded in 1977 to include
"employee associations similar to a union".
2018 by Barry T. Hirsch and David A. Macpherson. The use of data requires citation.